Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cancer Research Paper

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world today. Studies show that one in three people will suffer from some form of cancer in their lifetime. There are many different kinds of cancer that effect different parts of the body. Cancer is treated in various different ways. Some forms of cancer are curable, and some are not.

Cancer usually comes from the formation of a tumor. Tumors form in the body when cells are produced unnecessarily. That is to say, that new cells are formed when they are not needed, and they group together to form a tumor. The tumor can be benign, which means that it is non-cancerous, or it can be malignant, which means that it is cancerous. If cells break away from a malignant tumor, they will enter the bloodstream, and spread throughout the body, damaging other parts of the body.

Quite often, cancer appears with no definite cause. However, there are some activities that people engage in, that increase the risk of cancer. Smoking can cause cancer of the lung, mouth, and throat. Alcohol can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, and liver. Also, exposure to radiation and sunlight (or ultra-violet rays) can cause skin cancer. The exact cause of cancer still remains a mystery.

Cancer can be detected early on by certain symptoms. As cancer progresses through it’s various stages, it will produce certain symptoms. The symptoms depend on the size and location of the cancer. In some areas, symptoms will not appear until the cancer is very large, making the cancer much more difficult to treat. The general symptoms of cancer are fever, fatigue, severe weight loss, an alter of metabolism, blood clots, weakness and dizziness, and sores that don’t heal.

There are various different methods of treatment for cancer. Surgery is typically the first choice of most patients. If the cancer is localized, meaning it hasn’t spread, surgery is the best option. The surgeon will remove the tumor and the surrounding tissue. Surgery offers the greatest chance of a cure. The next method of treatment, which is usually a patient’s second choice, is chemotherapy. This method treats cancer cells that have spread.

Chemotherapy is used depending on the type of cancer, and the stage it is in. Chemotherapy will usually slow the cancer down, and keep it from spreading, and occasionally offer a cure. Chemotherapy specifically treats cancer by injecting strong medicine to a patient, and allowing the drugs to travel throughout the body. This treatment is given in cycles. The total course lasts six months. It reduces the risk of the cancer returning. The side effects include vomiting, hair loss, infections, and fatigue. The last treatment, which is usually a last resort, is Radiation. Radiation also treats localized cancer. It destroys cancer cells, so they don’t multiply. It is used alone, or in addition to Chemotherapy. More than one half of people with cancer undergo Radiation. Radiation is the process of external high-energy rays or implants inserted near the tumor, destroying the cancer cells. Radiation is given five days a week for five to eight weeks.

There are certain kinds of doctors who specialize in the treatment of cancer. These doctors are known in the medical world as Hematologists and Oncologists. These doctors specialize in the medical diagnosis and the treatment of cancer. They specialize in choosing between chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. They are trained to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of cancer, and to diagnose the various types of cancer.

The term remission refers to a period of time when the cancer is responding to its treatment. When a patient is in remission, the cancer is under control. When someone is in complete remission, all signs and symptoms disappear. In partial remission, the cancer shrinks, but is still there. Remission can last anywhere from several weeks to many years. If the disease returns, another remission can be followed by further treatment.

With all kinds of cancer, there are seven major warning signs. These seven signs found in one person would indicate that the person may be suffering from some type of cancer, and this person should see a doctor immediately. The seven warning signs are a significant change in bowel or bladder habits, a sore that does not heal, unusual bleeding or discharge, thickening or lumps in breast, indigestion or difficulty swallowing, obvious changes in wart or mole, and a nagging cough or hoarseness.
One specific type of cancer is called Angiosarcomas, or cancer of the endothelial cells. This is a rare, and very serious form of cancer. This type of cancer occurs in the head and neck region, and it usually appears in the scalp of the elderly. Occasionally it is found in the oral cavity. When it appears, it is usually a painless, rounded mass, and it may have a bluish hue. Once this tumor first appears, growth is very rapid. For the most part, treatment involves the surgical removal of the mass. However, this form of cancer is rather rare, and it is hard to diagnose early on. Because of this, about half of the individuals who suffer from it die within fifteen months of diagnosis, and only about twelve percent will live for five years or more. With this type of cancer, the earlier it is detected, the better the chance of survival. In other words, the smaller the tumor is when treatment begins, the better the chances of survival. While this disease has occurred in infants, it typically occurs in people with an average age of sixty-five years old. The lesion is usually painless. It is attached to surrounding tissues, and usually grows very rapidly. However, occasionally it can grow very slowly.

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